Advertisement
 
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Amsterdam, NY ,
Advertisement

Improving our public schools

Monday, June 03, 2013 - Updated: 4:08 AM

The rigorous Common Core learning standards that have been adopted by 45 states represent a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the United States to improve public schools nationally, bringing math, science and literacy education up to levels achieved by high-performing nations abroad.

The Department of Education has rightly pushed the states to jettison outmoded systems in exchange for a challenging, writing-intensive approach. But the department, which has set a rapid timetable for this transformation, will need to give the states some flexibility so that teachers -- who themselves are under pressure to meet evaluation standards -- can adjust to the new curriculum.

A bipartisan effort pioneered by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Common Core approach sets ambitious goals for math, reading and writing skills as children move through school. By fifth grade, for example, students who now do very little in the way of challenging writing assignments will be required to produce essays in which they introduce, support and defend arguments, using specific details. By 12th grade, these students will be expected to have problem-solving skills customarily associated with the first year of college.

This will require states to change just about everything: curriculum, principal and teacher training, textbooks. At the same time, agreements that most states have made with the Department of Education will require them to institute teacher and school evaluation systems that take student test scores into account, based on year-to-year progress. In many states, the first evaluation will be partly based on old tests that have nothing to do with new learning standards. This could undermine confidence in the reform and give teachers an incentive to ignore the new curriculum.

The answer is not to stop the reform effort. The states should proceed with the new curriculum and non-test aspects of the evaluation system, like classroom observation of teachers, and critiques of lesson plans. But the Education Department should give states the flexibility to refrain from penalizing schools or teachers based on the test data for at least a year, until an evaluation system for the Common Core is validated. This would only be common sense.

-- The New York Times

     

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Advertisement
The Recorder Sports Schedule

 

The Recorder Newscast

Most Popular

    Area high school sports calendar
    Monday, March 23, 2015

    New York state Senate again backs legalization of mixed martial arts
    Wednesday, March 25, 2015

    Sheriff's office investigating foreclosure company
    Wednesday, March 25, 2015

    Michael T. Bintz
    Thursday, March 26, 2015

    Benefit scheduled Sunday For second time in five years, local family loses home to fire
    Wednesday, March 25, 2015

    Local singer makes it to the next round
    Tuesday, March 24, 2015

    Best friends in life playing best friends in a high school musical
    Thursday, March 26, 2015

    City trying to whittle project list
    Monday, March 23, 2015

    New jobs, fireworks, jail upgrades are on next county agenda
    Monday, March 23, 2015

    YMCA is fighting an uphill financial battle
    Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Advertisement

Copyright © Port Jackson Media

Privacy Policies: The Recorder

Contact Us

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook